The Rebels would like to be the surprise team in the SEC this season, and many pundits believe it's possible. After a few successful recruiting classes under Hugh Freeze, they return plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, and dreams of a first December trip to Atlanta are starting to dance in fans' heads. Win big in the opener, and expectations will continue to rise. On the flip side, a loss could send the season into a tailspin right from the start.
Meanwhile, it's a new day in Boise. Out is Chris Petersen, the coach who brought the Broncos oh so close to a BCS title game appearance. In is alum and former assistant Bryan Harsin, coming from Arkansas State with one year of head coaching experience under his belt. Week 1 will allow fans to see what direction Harsin is going to take his team, and whether the coach can start his tenure with a Petersen-like upset.
How to witness
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, (Rece Davis, David Pollack, Samantha Ponder)
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Rankings and records: Coming off an 8-5 campaign, Ole Miss is ranked 18th in the AP Top 25 and 19th in the Coaches' Poll. Boise State was also 8-5 last year, but the Broncos enter 2014 unranked.
Vegas: The Rebels opened as 9.5-point favorites, and the line has moved slightly in their favor to 10 points at most sportsbooks. Oddsmakers have the over/under at 56.
Weather forecast: A perfect 72 degrees with no wind.
Three names to know
Bo Wallace, Ole Miss QB
Dr. Bo did a better job of protecting the ball last year, throwing 10 interceptions compared to 17 in 2012. However, his mistakes did contribute to a couple of Rebels losses. Wallace threw two picks in an eight-point defeat at Auburn, and three interceptions hurt his team in the Egg Bowl disaster against Mississippi State.
Bryan Harsin, Boise State head coach
Harsin is the third straight Arkansas State coach to leave town after one season on the job, bolting for his alma mater. If the Broncos are competitive -- not to mention if they pull off the upset -- it could be a sign of good things to come for Boise under its new leader.
Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss DL
With Jadeveon Clowney gone to the NFL, Nkemdiche might be the SEC's most feared defensive lineman. He has the ability to line up at tackle or end, and he finished third on the team last season with eight tackles for loss as a true freshman. The Broncos' offensive line should have its hands full.
Two things at stake
Fans in SEC country don't take too kindly to their teams losing to opponents like Boise State. An Ole Miss defeat would be seriously embarrassing.
Petersen took the Broncos to unprecedented heights, but the program faltered over the last two years. A win against the Rebels would show that Harsin has found the magic once again.